Jump to content
LCVG

Voodoo Vince Impressions...


Romier S
 Share

Recommended Posts

As usual in my neverending travels to spend money and buy more games I picked up Voodoo Vince along with Billy Hatcher yesterday afternoon. I truly have little understanding as to why I have been in such a mood to engross myself in the genre folks call platform but lately its been my poison and considering the Xbox's almost complete lack of quality "jumper" titles Voodoo Vince is exactly what the doctor ordered.

 

Little Vince happens to be the less than prized possession of Madame Charmaine. A Voodoo practicing woman who considers Vince her third best Vodoo doll. One dark night the minions of head villain and all around bad guy Kosmo the inscrutable attempt to steal a coveted zombie dust from Charmaines' voodoo shop in New Orleans. Caught in the act by the Madame herself, said minions do what any bumbling idiots in their position would. They kidnap her. In the process they happen to unleash the powers of the zombie dust which brings our hero Vince to life and unleashes unspeakable evil upon the world. Now it is up to you to guide Vince (with the help of a telepathic connection with Charmaine) in his journey to rescue his owner and seal the power of the zombie dust for good.

 

There is nothing here that really differentiates Vince from his competitors story wise which is ashame considering games like Sly Cooper have really proven how good a story driven platformer can be. You will be glad to hear that storyline however is not the games focus. It is nonetheless only fair of me to mention that the sparse story sequences laced throughout the beginnings of game are well done, if a tad simple. The voice acting is decent and Vince has about the most off-the-wall voice you could imagine for a 10inch voodoo doll. (he sounds like drunk club bouncer). I cannot continue these impressions without mentioning that you you will want to eliminate Kosmo from existence the instant you see and hear him. Not because he's an adequate villain you love to hate but because hes an absolute waste of a character and is just terribly terribly annoying.

 

On the subject of gameplay, Beep Industries decided to go with a traditional take on the platforming genre. Vince's repertoire of moves has been seen in countless other genre titles including the double jump, float down, head stomp and a spinning move that is useful in keeping enemies away from Vince. The camera is easily controlled with the right analog stick and is suprisingly intuitive though still falls to the same problems as other platforming titles (gets stuck on walls and problematic in enclosed spaces).

 

Gameplay is also standard in that your quest partly revolves around Vince collecting various items strewn about each level including beads that refill his voodoo magic meter, zombie dust vials that augment Vince's life meter once you've collected one hundred of them and skull sheets that increase the amount of times Vince can use his Voodoo power. Thankfully the games pause menu gives you a nifty read out of the items you have left to discover in each level and you can go back to any level in the game using a train post travel system. (you click on a train light post and small magic train takes you where you need to go.). Item collecting is certainly not anything new in the world of platformers but Voodoo Vince keeps this aspect of its gameplay to a minimum and its all pretty standard from the get-go. A little too standard at times if you get my meaning.

 

Where the game gets really interesting is in Vince's ability to just outright cause himself a world of pain to hurt the games variety of enemies. You can do everything from cut yourself in half with a chainsaw to use a magnet to attract an oven to smash you into the floor. The reasoning behind using these moves is they eliminate any and all enemies in the vicinity in one fell swoop. No need for enemy to enemy combat. These magic moves are both entertaining and plentiful though this does tie into yet another portion of item collecting as you'll need to find these new death moves as you explore the games environments.

 

Another area where the game really shines is in its puzzle structure. Thus far I have explored about eight of the games 30 levels and there is just a huge variety of puzzles to tackle. Most are muti-legged missions requiring Vince to complete certain tasks to move on to another task that will take him to yet another task that will provide the item he needs to complete the level in its entirety. It sounds a bit complicated but truthfully its all very simple and really the best part of playing Voodoo Vince.

 

One particular level has Vince setting himself on fire in order to run to multiple exhaust pipes that ignite on fire allowing Vince to keep himself aflame until the end of the level. At the end of the level Vince must set a gasoline spill on fire in front of two evil gas pumps (yes you read that right) that lob wrenches and other objects at Vince preventing him from reaching a tank of gasoline behind them. That tank of gasoline is needed to power a steamroller which will run over the gates that block Vince's exit out of the level. This is the kind of tiered puzzle structure Vince brings to the table and I have to say that its by far the most entertaining and polished aspect of Vince's gameplay.

 

Graphically Voodoo Vince depends more on its art direction than technical prowess. Texture quality is nice and defined in each level I've experienced and the game has a very "Nightmare Before Christmas" look to it with buildings and level terrain bending and contorting creating an other-worldy look to the surroundings. Vince is also a very smooth experience as the framerate has yet to falter in my play time. There are a variety of good effects used including what appears to be reflection mapping to emphasize rain puddles and other particle effects for Vince's death animations.

 

Enemy design is a whole different story as you'll find the enemies here to be hopelessly generic which I cannot ignore. You have your garden variety animals including frogs with a shiny metallic like skin texture, flying bee's that drops bombs on Vince from afar. Its really too bad that Beep Industries could not get a tad more creative considering the wonderful job they did with the art direction of the environments. I definitely had some bad Blinx flashbacks while fighting certain enemies (EEK!).

 

The music in Vince is top notch stuff. Definitely sets the tone for the New Orleans atmosphere and hell its just catchy. Music as always is very subjective but I'm diggin the big easy vibe. The afformentioned voice acting is for the most part decent with some bad apples ruining the presentation (*cough* Kosmo *cough*) and the sound effects include your typical zings, wams and zooms.

 

As of now Voodoo Vince is positioned to be one of the best platform titles on the Xbox (not saying much there but you get my drift) and to be honest out of my two recent purchases I'm finding it to be a more enjoyable game than Sega's Billy Hatcher. I can't deny that in my play time Vince has shown itself to be a very standard platformer employing the tried and true staples of the games of yesteryear. Much like Billy Hatcher I've gotten a feeling of been there and done that from time to time. The puzzles and Vinces large selection of voodoo powers however have elevated the game for me from being your every day mediocre platformer to an enjoyable game that has been worthy of a look. Full review coming soon (same with Billy Hatcher)....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I played the demo of this last weekend. I sort of agree with you, Romier. The art direction overall is pretty darn good. Your comparison with A Nightmare before Christmas is devastatingly accurate. I was totally thinking about Tim Burton the whole time I played it.

 

The music also impressed me, especially since it's not the style you would expect from your standard platform games. Controls are tight, if a bit clich?d. Then again, I wouldn't be complaining about a dual-analog scheme for a FPS now would I?

 

The camera bothered me some, especially when walking through some narrow pipes, at the end of which was a death inducing drop that I couldn't see until I had already fallen into it.

 

Still, the title, aside from its Voodoo effects didn't really do anything to stand out from other platformers already on the market. Considering how many other games I already have on my "to buy" list, I think I will pass on this one for now.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I played the demo of this last week as well, excited about the possibilities of a new platformer on the 'box.

 

The overall gist, and I think you agree, Romier, is that there's really nothing new here. I was more reminded of Sly Cooper than Nightmare Before Christmas, but I can see that comparison.

 

Control is responsive and great. Really like that.

 

I wasn't too keen on the level design. I can appreciate the developer's desire to try to create a more exploratory, non-linear, "secret area" kind of feel, but I think that can detract from a platformer. The light-yourself-on-fire puzzle was cool, but a bit difficult to figure out, I found. If you check out the gamefaqs.com message board for the game, you'll find many people asking about some of the not-so-obvious multi-tiered puzzles. Not that that's a bad thing, but in a platformer, it can be.

 

The camera / shadowing needed work in the demo as well. Hopefully they fixed this, because I too fell into some unseen voids.

 

I might pick this up, but with two great platformers coming out this year on PS2, I'll most likely wait. I still have to play through Panzer Dragoon, Xenosaga, and KOTOR.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The overall gist, and I think you agree, Romier, is that there's really nothing new here.

 

I do agree to an extent. As mentioned in my impressions for the most part Voodoo Vince is a quite run of the mill in some of its design but there are certain things that elevate it IMHO and make it worthwhile in playing through.

 

I was more reminded of Sly Cooper than Nightmare Before Christmas

 

I didn't see that at all but of course this is very subjective. If anything I feel Voodoo contains certain elements that liken it more to the first Crash Bandicoot with an as mentioned Burton-esque eye for architecture and design.

 

If you check out the gamefaqs.com message board for the game, you'll find many people asking about some of the not-so-obvious multi-tiered puzzles. Not that that's a bad thing, but in a platformer, it can be.

 

Something I have to disagree with. One of the things Im liking about this is the puzzles actually make you think a little bit as puzzles should. I tire of the blatantly obvious and arbitrary puzzles thrown into most platformers these days. (including Sly which thus far has offered almost no challenge for me, though as mentioned it has a great story which keeps you playing).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by FutureVoid@Sep 26 2003, 10:39 AM

Something I have to disagree with. One of the things Im liking about this is the puzzles actually make you think a little bit as puzzles should. I tire of the blatantly obvious and arbitrary puzzles thrown into most platformers these days. (including Sly which thus far has offered almost no challenge for me, though as mentioned it has a great story which keeps you playing).

Fair enough. Again, I only played through the demo. Overall I liked what I saw.

 

How are the boss battles? Pattern formula or...?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How are the boss battles? Pattern formula or...?

 

They can range from really simplistic and unsatsifying to really neat. The first boss is a huge Dinosaur Skeleton. You have to basically run around the environment and find a conductive helmet. Then flip 4 switches which activate lightning switches that power a diode in the center of the level. Once they are all powered on you stick Vince right in the center and electrocute his butt. Whch in turn electrocutes the dinosaur (who looks kind of silly I might add). It was kind of neat but I'm a big propenent of pattern based boss battles as you mentioned and I'm hoping I see more of that as I go along.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The only thing that minorly irritates me about the concept is exemplified in this little mini-review:

 

At the end of the level Vince must set a gasoline spill on fire in front of two evil gas pumps (yes you read that right) that lob wrenches and other objects at Vince preventing him from reaching a tank of gasoline behind them.

 

So, getting sawed in half and having safes fall on Vince causes pain and suffering to your enemy, but getting hit with a wrench (or anything not linked to the "voodoo power" thing) hurts Vince. Just a little niggly thing.

 

I have it third on my rental queue, behind the two non Sega hockey games.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So, getting sawed in half and having safes fall on Vince causes pain and suffering to your enemy, but getting hit with a wrench (or anything not linked to the "voodoo power" thing) hurts Vince

 

Yeah a bit silly but more of an artifical way to give players a "health" meter and kind of veering back into the "traditional" platformer territory we discussed earlier. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've had the chance to play this game a little bit and overall I'd say this is a neat little platformer. My biggest complaint is the generic enemies bugs, toads, whatever the hell thay are, although I did like the evil gingerbread guys. If you like jazz, how can you not adore this soundtrack. Wow! The price isn't bad, either, but still after everything said and done, VV is probably one I'll wait to pick up on the pre-viewed rack at EB.

 

Right now, there's so many great titles I can pick up cheap that I haven't gotten around to playing, that VV's price of $54.99 canadian is still too steep in my opinion. Especially, when Viewtiful Joe is slated for $49.99 canadian at its release.

 

VV is definitely a step in the right direction for MS and I certainly like this game better than the hyped-up Blinx, but I'm still wondering why MS let Tork go and picked up VV instead. VV is not what I would define as a killer app title. A pleasant little platformer but hardly genre-defining. I doubt VV will set any xbox sales records.

 

There are too many platform cliches in VV to warrrant a sparkling recommendation. The old double jump, hover, spin attack, butt stomp(head stomp in Vince's case), item collection routine. The voodoo powers are not selectable from what I've played and basically constitute another platform cliche in the form of a special attack. The puzzles and their structure are the best parts of the game along with the production values. Definitely worth a rent for anyone with even a passing interest in platform games.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

but I'm still wondering why MS let Tork go and picked up VV instead. VV is not what I would define as a killer app title.

 

Nor was Tork from reports I've seen. It seemed to fall right in line with the "neat little platformer" desciption you used for VV and little more. Of course at this point it seems we'll never know.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 13 years later...

[blows dust off thread.]

 

*cough cough*

 

So this is getting remastered and re-released on Xbox One and PC early 2017.

 

Clayton Kauzlaric:

 

We shipped Voodoo Vince in September of 2003 when the original Xbox was nearing its peak, but Vince soon disappeared in the churn of other games and a new generation of consoles. Our engine used some convoluted custom code that made Vince ineligible for Backward Compatibility during the Xbox 360 era so Vince seemed destined to remain in the past.

 

I started getting emails from fans the day Voodoo Vince came out. Later, it was Facebook messages and tweets from people who loved the game. And it never stopped. We never really had merchandise, but fans made their own. I have pictures of homemade Voodoo Vince dolls. I’ve seen fan art from people all over the world. The more committed have Vince tattoos. It was a small audience but Vince clearly meant something to them.

 

Oddly enough, I ended up at Microsoft Studios working as a Creative Director in first party publishing. I’ve worked on all sorts of exciting things, from console to Kinect and HoloLens games. I love my job, but I never forgot about my little burlap pal. I also continued working on assorted side projects through my independent studio Beep Games, Inc. A couple years ago I started thinking about updating and re-launching Voodoo Vince myself. My colleagues at Microsoft were really supportive of the idea. We all agreed that the ID@Xbox program is the perfect venue for the game. A small team and I have been quietly working on Voodoo Vince: Remastered for a few months now, and I’m announcing today that it’ll be out for Xbox One and Windows 10 in early 2017.

 

Expect 1080p60 visuals, achievements, and rumble support in this version. Otherwise, gameplay is unchanged from the original.

 

I never played this on the original Xbox, but it looks like I played the demo back in September 2003 (over 13 years ago now!). I totally do not remember this at all. Apparently, I passed on it at the time because it felt generic or something? I'm not sure. I look at this now and see a game that hits so many checkboxes of things I like: great visuals, great music, quirky idea. I can't help but think that this is one I need to put on my To Buy List for 2017.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

Interesting. Never seen this game or thread before. There were some cool moments in that trailer. The trailer also had a very early/demo feel, so it didn't convey a feeling like, 'oh, that game could be good.' As a remaster, I'm sure it looks great, and I enjoyed the Luigi's mansion vibe/palette, but as a new-comer there isn't much to go on there.

 

One unfortunate down note, although the sound is probably 'authentic' to the original, it was terribly uninteresting.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...